Ionic communication for implantable bioelectronics

Sci Adv. 2022 Apr 8;8(14):eabm7851. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abm7851. Epub 2022 Apr 6.


Implanted bioelectronic devices require data transmission through tissue, but ionic conductivity and inhomogeneity of this medium complicate conventional communication approaches. Here, we introduce ionic communication (IC) that uses ions to effectively propagate megahertz-range signals. We demonstrate that IC operates by generating and sensing electrical potential energy within polarizable media. IC was tuned to transmit across a range of biologically relevant tissue depths. The radius of propagation was controlled to enable multiline parallel communication, and it did not interfere with concurrent use of other bioelectronics. We created a fully implantable IC-based neural interface device that acquired and noninvasively transmitted neurophysiologic data from freely moving rodents over a period of weeks with stability sufficient for isolation of action potentials from individual neurons. IC is a biologically based data communication that establishes long-term, high-fidelity interactions across intact tissue.